This week the kind folks at Apple have granted the masses access to their iTunes Match program, one that will allow users to subscribe for $25 USD a year and match up their physical music collection with the iCloud, giving them access wherever they go to their entire collection. You the user can get access to iTunes Match by downloading a simple software update to your iTunes application via the iTunes download page you'd normally use to do so. While this program had originally been intended for mid-October, several beta tests throughout the month have yielded a final release date of now, now being of course mid-November 2011.
At the moment only users in the USA are allowed to use the service, but users around the world can download the new version of iTunes via Apple's iTunes 10.5.1 download page. This service will allow you to import all of your music to the iCloud where iTunes will either provide the highest-quality version of the tracks available or will use the version of the music file you uploaded when no match can be made. With this service, you'll have your whole music library wherever you go with the opportunity to purchase as much physically represented music as you want to add to your library any time you want for no additional charge. Record stores may well see an influx of business from this.
This service will work starting immediately, and again even though outside the USA there is no compatibility with iTunes Match as of yet, a "coming soon" sign out front of the promo listings makes it seem like there might be a chance for the near future. Those of you that've tried iTunes Match so far: what do you think of it? Seem like something you'd recommend to all your friends? Worth the $25 USD a year to make it go?